Monday, August 20, 2007

Keeping it Cool with Christie

"Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer's life."
--Stephen King

As it hits the nineties in SoCal (and our utility bills are so high that we never turn on our A/C) I couldn’t agree more with Stephen King. These are the dog days of summer and I’m finding it a teense hard to be creative with anything more than ways to get the hair of my dewy (sweaty) neck. So I’m reading…and feeling virtuous about it as well. It’s the creative center of a writer’s life!

Recently I’ve been invited to a couple of book-cataloging/social sites, Shelfari and Librarything. I find both so appealing! But keeping up with them is time away from turning the pages and it’s stuffy by the computer in my office…

I’ve read outside the romance envelope a lot in the last couple of weeks. A friend lent me Water For Elephants. It feels like a cross between HBO’s Deadwood and Carnivale and I enjoyed it…except for the fact that the opening of the book gives away something that I think would have been better left until the end. I’m still scratching my head over that decision. The scene that is shown could have stopped a couple of pages short of where it did and still be intriguing without being a spoiler.

Hi, I’m Christie Ridgway and sometimes I read true crime. Is it just me, or does anyone else who reads this genre often feel like a sinner? (I also sometimes feel this way after watching too many Law & Order SVU repeats in a row.) I just read The Good Wife by Clint Richmond, a true crime story about the murder of this very virtuous woman in Texas. Fascinating situation, though I wish there had been more insight into the motive of the murderer.

As I continue enjoying my summer reading wallow, I thought I’d pass along this list from Booklist (a publication of the American Library Association). It’s their top 10 romance fiction reads from September 15, 2006 until this coming September.

Adieu, My Love. By Lynn M. Turner. Avalon.

Agnes and the Hitman. By Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. St. Martin*s.

Billionaires Prefer Blondes. By Suzanne Enoch. Avon.

A Distant Magic. Mary Jo Putney. Del Rey.

The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter. By Mary Ellen Davis. Five Star.

Let’s Misbehave. By Lisa Plumley. Zebra.

Rough and Ready. By Sandra Hill. Berkley Sensation.

Soul Song. By Marjorie M. Liu. Dorchester.

Tempting. Susan Mallery. HQN.

Virgin River. By Robyn Carr. MIRA.

Some I’ve read already (and enjoyed!) while others I’ll be looking for. What about you? Can you recommend any of the Booklist reads or is there something else you use to distract you from the hot summer weather? (I'm talking books here, I've got the ice cream covered!)


Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- One of the best things I've read in a while is SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley. It's not a new book and the first 20 pages were torture because there was so much detail and so many characters but by the time she met the incarcerated vampire, I was so hooked and could not put that book down. I've loaned it out to a second now. Her voice, in this book, just totally captured me.

Also LOVED LOVED LOVED Dotie Smith's (101 Dalmations) book I CAPTURE THE CASTLE. A completely charming tale written in journal form about the life of a desperately poor girl in the 1940's living in a run down (falling apart) castle.

danny said...

Great quote by Stephen King. I have never seen that before, but couldn't agree more!

Helen Brenna said...

Totally agree, Danny, on the quote. Thanks for kicking me in the butt, Christie. I've got a short reprieve between books, and it's so good to know I can and should take the time out for some guiltfree reading!!!

Christie Ridgway said...

Deb: I've read both SUNSHINE and I CAPTURED THE CASTLE. Hmm...I wonder if it was you who recommended them. They're great.

re: the Booklist list, I really loved Robyn Carr's trilogy that started with VIRGIN RIVER. I'd never read her before and I picked it up thanks to word of mouth. It has a women's fction-y feel, except then it has these wonderful alpha guys and this great town and I couldn't put any of them down.

Danny and Helen: Glad you guys liked the quote! Now we writers can "goof-off" reading and feel good about it!

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, you made me stop to think. There've been reading highs and lows, but and I've read several books this summer that I'd recommend:

THREE CUPS OF TEA by David Oliver Reslin and Greg Mortensen. The story of a mountain climber who became an unlikely ambassador for peace by building schools, especially schools for GIRLS in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This book will restore your faith in humanity and may help balance your outlook on our world. Heartwarming, too. You may have seen the article on him in the Sunday PARADE magazine a couple of years ago.

And for fun: DEEP STORM by Lincoln Child. A relatively tame techno-thriller until the last page and the last couple of sentences. I got a chill and that has stayed with me to this day!!

Also: Lisa Jackson's ALMOST DEAD.
and JR Ward's latest, LOVER REVEALED. I was also introduced to Sharon Shinn as an author and read her "angel" trilogy: ARCHANGEL, JOVAH'S ANGEL, and THE ALLELUIA FILES. Great world building and provocative themes.

And as for the DOG DAYS of Summer. . . I read a few I'll not mention by name because I'm basically not a cruel person. One was a big political thriller that sent me into peals of laughter that I'm sure the author didn't intend. One of the big players in the book was a dwarf known only as "The Troll". . . whose best friends were two huge white Causasian Ovcharka dogs-- one of which he rides in a getaway from the scene of a murder. If I told you more of the plot and the connection between the Troll and the villain, you wouldn't believe me. It's actually entertaining. . . in a bizarre, alternative-reality sort of way. Proof of what best-selling authors sometimes get away with.

Michele Hauf said...

Deb, SUNSHINE was awesome. I wish there was another in that series, but so far I haven't heard if there will be.

I just finished IRONSIDE by Holly Black who really knows her faeries. And also, WICKED LOVELY, by newcomer Melissa Marr, who knows her faeries as well. Both are YA, but so good.

Currently re-reading ARCTIC DREAMS by Barry Lopez who journeyed across the arctic and recorded his thoughts on the wildlife and nature and life in general. Great stuff.

kaitlin said...

If you like True Crime, have you read anything by Anne Rule? I totally recommend The Stranger Beside Me (About Ted Bundy whom she actually knew) and Small Sacrifices. Small Sacrifices is one of the most heartwrenching books I've ever read, but also one of the best.

As for other recommendations...I've been reading a lot of YA fiction lately. I don't know why, it's just fitting my mood, I guess. :) I'm reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's very, very good.

kaitlin said...

Have you read Beauty by Robin McKinley? It's one of my favorite tellings of Beauty & The Beast.

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, and I almost forgot. . . I've been privileged to read arcs for a debut author who is FABULOUS! She has a new Fantasy/Romance series that will be published starting in October 2007. . .

C.L.Wilson's LORD OF THE FADING LANDS is a fabulous EPIC tale of love, redemption, magic and adventure. Her writing is evocative and her world building is phenomenal. The second book in the series. LADY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS, will be released in November 2007. . . the very next month! So you won't have to wait forever to get your second fix of the story!!

October and November. . . mark your calendars!!

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, love the recs, you guys!

They are going on my book list. I don't think I've read any faerie books...though I do read a lot of YA and have read Stephanie Meyer and like her very, very much.

I read The Stranger Beside Me! Creepy. I'm a little afraid to read Small Sacrifices. Fear is always an issue with true crime for me...more so than suspense.